ALISTAR PEEKED OUT from behind the stage. Hundreds of cheering faces greeted
him. One group of enthusiastic fans were flapping their arms and making caw
"I don't believe this," Alistar said. "There's
so many of them." He turned to Flick. "Can you believe this?"
"Yes Alistar. They've come just for you."
But Alistar wasn't listening. He was staring
wide-eyed at the figure behind Flick and May. A dark shadow with glowing green
"Umbriel?" Alistar gasped.
"Look at your fans, Alistar," May spoke, her
voice flat and lifeless. "They've all come just for you."
Alistar turned slowly towards the crowd. But
they were no longer cheering. They were replaced by shadows. Hundreds of them.
With glowing eyes.
"We've come for you, Alistar. We've come for
"No..." Alistar backed away whimpering. "No!"
He turned back to the band. They were gone. Only
the dark shadow remained.
Its eyes narrowed as it drew near.
"I'm coming for you, Alistar!"
A clawed hand reached for his throat.
He opened his eyes.
The clock on the nightstand above him read 12:25
AM in bright red, upside down numbers.
Shivering, Alistar crawled back into bed, haunted
by visions of green-eyed shadows and icicle voices.
Alistar peeked out from behind the stage. Hundreds of cheering faces greeted
him. One group of enthusiastic fans were flapping their arms and making caw
"I don't believe this," he said, turning to face
the band. "It's just like my dream."
Flick was puzzled. "What's wrong Alistar?"
"It's just like my dream," he repeated. "I had
a dream last night. A really creepy one. Umbriel turned into this shadowy thing
and the audience got all weird, and then she tried to strangle me..."
"Alistar, calm down," May said, trying to comfort
the stressed Kyrii. "Don't get so worked up. It was only a dream. Dreams aren't
"I know, but they've been so vivid lately, I...
I just don't know what to do... every time I wake up, I find myself wondering
'is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?' It's been driving me out of my
mind! And they're always getting worse! Last night I could have sworn Umbriel
tried to ... you know... kill me..."
"Alistar," May took him by the shoulder and pointed
to Umbriel. "Umbriel would never... ever... try to hurt you," Umbriel tried
to smile sweetly, "She's just as much a part of this group as we are. She's
been with us through four parties, two concerts, a high school reunion, and
a wedding! She was with us for 'Shakey Flakey Heart'..."
"I won't soon forget that one," Flick interrupted.
May nodded. "Neither will Alistar. Look, the
point is this: you can't allow fear to get the better of you. It's all up here,"
she rapped her head. "If you can't control that, you'll never make it big. Now
are you going to do this concert, Alistar, or are you going call it quits right
here and now?"
Alistar looked out towards the crowd beyond the
stage. Pets of every shape and size were shouting in anticipation.
"All right. I'll do it."
"Finally," said Flick. "I thought we'd never
"Umbriel," May said, "start the fog."
The Dark Faerie cracked her knuckles and held
her hands in front of her. Her arms swung around and up, and, with a faint rumble,
an inky black cloud erupted from the stage. The audience became immediately
The band ran to take their places. No sooner
had they arrived on the stage than the dark cloud lifted, slowly revealing the
performers. The crowd cheered once more.
Alistar had planned this concert to be like no other they had ever done before.
The band played everything from 'Rainbow Pool Blues' to 'Magical Mystery Island
Tour' and everything in between. From 5:30 to 8:00 Neopia Central Park was a
frenzied whirlwind of shouting fans and screaming guitars. Alistar had left
his fears behind him as he was quickly swept into the music he loved so much.
The concert ended with a well-received 'Neohemian
Rhapsody', which Flick had insisted they do, regardless of the hours of practice
it took them to finally get it right.
Accompanied by the cheers of hundreds of pets,
the band began to leave the stage.
Alistar noticed a faint rumble. There was a sudden
darkness around him, followed by a strange chill.
Alistar looked around wildly. A black mist obscured
"Umbriel?" he cried, his voice seemingly muffled
by the fog. "Umbriel is this some sort of joke?"
"Alistar!" came a voice.
"May! Is that you?"
"What's going on?"
"I don't know! Umbriel was only supposed to do
this once, wasn't she?"
"That's what she told me," came a third voice.
It was Flick.
"Where's Umbriel?" Alistar asked. "Umbriel!"
Alistar felt something like icy hands around
"Oh, no..." he wailed. "No, this isn't real."
A pair of glowing eyes appeared before him, floating
in the blackness.
"No... no no no no no..." Alistar shook his head.
"You're not real."
"I've come for you, Alistar..."
Alistar trembled in fear. "What do you want?"
"I thought my warning would be enough to stop
"Warning? You mean... the dreams?"
"Foolish Kyrii. Your stubbornness will be your
Alistar attempted to muster his courage. He failed
miserably. "W-what do you care about any of this? We're just a band."
"I have my reasons."
Alistar swallowed. "What do you want from us,
The glowing eyes narrowed to green slits. They
began to get brighter.
All warmth left Alistar's body. His heart froze.
Staggering back, his mind reeling, Alistar fell.
The last sound he heard before all consciousness left him was a cruel, sadistic
"More water, Flick. I think he's coming to."
Alistar felt something cold and wet pressed against
his forehead. He opened his eyes. A blurry yellow blob wiggled before him.
"He's opening his eyes, May."
"Well don't just stand there, let me see!"
A tan and red blob pushed the yellow blob away
"Make yourself useful and go get more water."
The yellow blob moved away.
"Are you okay, Alistar?"
"How many fingers am I holding up Alistar?"
"No, Alistar, purple is a colour. Try a number."
"Never mind. Hurry up with that water Flick!"
The blob was gaining definition. Eyes, ears,
a nose, a pair of arms, and a big white M.
"Yes, that's right Alistar! Oh, there you are
Flick, never mind the... no... WAIT!"
A cold deluge met Alistar's face in a rather
sudden way. He coughed and spluttered.
"There you are," said Flick indignantly. "Is
that enough water for you, your majesty?"
"You idiot! You weren't supposed to dump it on
There was some commotion to Alistar's right,
followed by a metallic boom and an echoing 'Ow'.
"Sorry about that Alistar. Are you all right?"
Alistar pushed his dripping hair away from his
eyes. There was something on his head.
"Ther's summin' on m' hed..." he slurred.
"Oh, yes, here let me take that."
She peeled the wet cloth off of his forehead.
Alistar looked around. "Where..."
"Your apartment. We thought it would be the best
place to take you."
Alistar managed to sit himself upright. "My head
hurts... What happened to me? And why does Flick have a bucket on his head?"
"You were hit by a Life Drain spell," came a
voice from behind him. "A powerful one. I'm surprised that your head is the
only thing hurting you."
Alistar turned quickly to face Umbriel, forgetting
his pain and fatigue. He pointed a quivering finger. "Now I remember! It was
you! You were the one that did this! Treacherous Faerie! I knew you were bad
news right from the start!"
"Alistar!" May cried, holding him back. "Alistar
cut it out!"
"Don't try to stop me, May!"
"Alistar! ALISTAR!" May shouted. Alistar stopped
thrashing. "Alistar, Umbriel did not do this! She was the one that saved you!"
Alistar turned around. "What?"
"That's right Alistar," said Flick, removing
the bucket from his head. "After we got out of the fog, we couldn't find you,
so Umbriel went back in for you."
"Yes," said May. "She did."
Alistar turned to Umbriel, stupefied. "But then
who made the fog? And who attacked me?"
"Whoever it was, it wasn't Umbriel."
"Are you sure?"
Alistar closed his eyes and rubbed his head.
He flopped onto the couch. "Now my head really hurts. What about the audience?
They didn't panic when they heard me screaming, did they?"
"You were screaming?" Flick asked. "At what?
I didn't hear a thing after we left the stage."
"I was creaming at what I thought was her," he
said, pointing to Umbriel. "It was a dark shadow with green eyes. And it had
"You mean it sounded like me?" Umbriel asked,
"No, not like that. It did that thing you do
with your voice."
"Stop!" Alistar shouted. "Don't even think about
doing it. I'm in no mood right now."
May furrowed her brow. "What exactly did this
shadowy figure say to you? What did it want?"
Alistar sighed. "It said something about 'putting
a stop to this foolishness'. I think it means to stop The Crows."
"Who would want to do a thing like that?" Flick
"I don't know, but whoever it was is the same
person who's been sending me those nightmares."
"Nightmares... Dark fog... Life Drain spells...
this definitely sounds like the work of a Dark Faerie," May said. Flick looked
"Are you sure it wasn't you?" he asked her.
"Flick, what a stupid thing to say!" May reprimanded
him. "Of course it wasn't her! How could it be?"
"Well, she was in that fog for quite awhile..."
"I was looking for Alistar!" Umbriel practically
shouted at him. "Don't you guys trust me?"
"Of course we do," May said. "We have no reason
not to. It's just been a tough night, that's all. And Flick tends not to engage
his brain before putting his mouth into gear. Now, I think it would be best
for us all if we just drop the whole thing until tomorrow. Alistar needs some
time to rest."
"You're not going to leave me here alone, are
you?" Alistar pleaded. "What if that... thing... comes back for me?"
"All right," May relented. "I'll stay the night
"What about me?" asked Flick. "I can help."
"If I left things to you, Alistar would drown
by tomorrow morning."
"And me?" added Umbriel.
"Look, don't worry. I've got everything under
control. The two of you go home and get some rest. No point in more than one
of us sacrificing sleep."
Umbriel folded her arms. "Fine then."
"C'mon, Umbriel, let's leave Dr. Usul to her
work. We're obviously not wanted."
Flick opened his wings and dove out the window.
"Just a minute."
She turned to May. "If anything should happen,
don't hesitate to call me. I'm just as concerned about this as you are."
"I will. Don't worry."
Umbriel followed Flick out the window.
May slumped into the recliner. "Alistar..." she
started. The Kyrii was snoring.
May sighed and sat back in the chair.
Could really have been Umbriel, she thought.
She shook her head.
No, it couldn't have been. But still...
To be continued...